Tanker blaze raises fears of East China Sea pollution disaster

Tanker blaze raises fears of East China Sea pollution disaster PressTV

JANUARY 8, 2018 — A Panama flagged, Iranian owned tanker was this morning reportedly still burning and in danger of exploding, raising fears of an environmental disaster in the East China Sea.

The ship, the 2008-built, 164,154 dwt Sanchi, was in collision with the Hong Kong registered CF Crystal Saturday night. The incident occurred about 260 km (160 miles) off the coast of Shanghai.

According to Iran's FARS News Agency, the Sanchi was carrying a cargo of 136,000 tons of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) supplied gas concentrate to South Korea.

FARS says that National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) formed an emergency committee with senior company officials immediately after the news of the collision was transmitted to Tehran.

The state-run company dispatched two vessels sailing in the region to to offer help in rescue operations.

Rescuers trying to reach the burning tanker were beaten back by toxic clouds, FARS reports, adding that the body of one crewman, among the 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis on board, has been found. The rest are missing.

Chinese media report that all 21 Chinese crew on board the Hong Kong-registered freighter the CF-Crystal were rescued.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the seafarers still missing from the oil tanker Sanchi, following a reported collision off the coast of China. I send my deepest sympathies to all their families and loved ones," said IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim. "I would like to commend all those who have been involved in the international search and rescue operations so far and in the efforts to battle the fire and contain pollution from the ship."

"This is an ongoing situation which we are monitoring," he added. "IMO stands ready to offer any technical assistance that may be needed. In the longer term, it is expected that there will be a full investigation into this incident and that the results and findings will be brought to IMO so that we can do whatever may be necessary to reduce the chances of such an incident happening again."

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